A couple of weeks ago we checked out The Thieves’s debut single, Same Old Story, and after the track’s brilliant reception, we thought we’d check out their live show, too. Headlining Derby’s world-famous The Victoria Inn, the band took to the stage with the foundations of a band who could go all the way.
A long, recorded opening held the crowd’s focus as the band assembled themselves on stage, and after a bit of a demo-esque, halfhearted start, the percussion straightened out the music to create a sharp opening for Same Old Story, before taking a backseat to the guitars which drove the rest of the track. The striking, signature vocals of the studio track prevailed in the set, and despite a few notes feeling cut short, the clarity of the lyrics was of a level typically unrivaled in a live show. Even more so than in the studio version, the influence of The 1975 was strong, and until this show I had yet to see a band who could pull off the style without sounding like either a direct copy, or, well, simply bad. What sets The Thieves apart is the rockier edge they bring to the music when the vocals give away to fast guitar powered instrumental – despite a few minor feedback problems, and the drums sounding a little too dominant at the end of the opening track, they couldn’t have a better track to commence the show.
After paying thanks to the crowd and a few technical adjustments, marginally breaking the set up, the band launched into a second, pacier track, with a much tighter sound. With more focus on the instrumental of the record the vocals felt a little lost on the verses, albeit with the chorus and backing vocals redeeming them in places. Catchy hooks and tighter drums made an infectious track bound to become a fan favourite upon studio release, and a tight close held the standard up throughout the song. Synth welcomed the third track of the set, and despite some sections feeling too fast, the heavier sound showed a different side of the music, and Will’s (Hughes, frontman) tight vocals, at times only supported by soft percussion, reinforced that he had the power to carry the track on his own.
A controlled opening providing a solid basis for the start of the fourth track, although it didn’t boast the staccato execution the band seemed to be aiming for. A striking trait of this band is how closely the “look” of The Thieves matches the sound they create, and their relaxed – if not a little static – stage presence supports this no end, as do the dance worthy drum interludes between songs. For the next track, Will’s vocals were only supported by solid percussion and soft guitar, the sound building up to the climax of the chorus which held a tight kick, though some of the vocal clarity became lost in it. Towards the close of the track the form felt a little lost; laborious percussion and vocals that could’ve used a sharper bite made the track fade out slightly – regardless, the continuously cheering crowd loved it. For the next few tracks, similar potholes were noticeable – the tracks themselves and the overall delivery were impeccable, and only minor faults in levels, pace or technicalities let the songs down; all errors that only live show practise will remove.
The final three tracks consisted of an original sandwiched by The 1975 and The Wombats covers, paying homage to the band’s influences; first up was Sex, the track that brought about fame to the former of the two bands. Despite being a little too fast throughout, Will’s vocals did justice to the clean, dead pan vocals of The 1975 frontman, Matt Healy, and the prominent drum towards the close of the track upheld The Thieves’s own take on the record. The final original of the night held grungier chords and stronger vocal focus, with the driving force of the bass powering the track into the closing song whereupon Will ditched his guitar to concentrate on the precision of Moving To New York. The minor feedback problem dissipated after the first few chord, leaving a rendition of the track hardly dissimilar to the original. A minor let down came in the chorus, becoming a bit hectic in the struggle for control, but what came as most of a shock was the received pronunciation of “therapeutic” in the track – I’m sure Matthew Murphy doesn’t bother with the second “t”.
After possibly the longest live outro I’ve had the joy of hearing, the set came reached its eventual close to a cheering audience; The Thieves aren’t the sort of band who have potential hidden and should work on releasing it – they wear it on their sleeve, and I bet in a year, you won’t be able to shift for them.